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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

IDF confirms Syria strike, removes censorship restriction

The IDF has confirmed that Israeli jets struck a target in Syria on September 6 and has released the Israeli media from censorship rules relating to the affair that required that all reports be foreign sourced. The release was in response to an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the BBC's Arabic network in which Assad claimed that the IDF had hit an "unused military building" in his country. The interview is here.

YNet now reports that one of its reporters visited the site of the raid in Syria:
Ynet reporter and commentator Ron Ben-Yishai, visited Dir a-Zour – the alleged attack site – a week ago, where he found local residents to be blasé to the reports of an Israeli attack.

"Israeli planes flew over making a lot of noise and maybe dropping something, but we didn't here any explosions on the ground," Ben-Yishai was told.

"All this talk about tension (between Israel and Syria) is nothing more than Syria flexing its muscles at Israel. There is no real threat."
Compare that with this report that I blogged two weeks ago:
Several days ago, after the attack on Syria's "nuclear program", I spoke to western oil company officials in Deir Ez Zor. One technician told me they routinely monitor radiation as part of the refining process. They registered no heightened levels of nuclear residue in the area as there would have been if the Israelis had hit a North Korean atomic stockpile. Operations and technical foremen put it this way: "The nuclear claims against Syria are pure bullsh*t."

The Syrian smoking gun is the complete lack of any mushroom cloud.
Sounds almost the same. Maybe.

I don't buy Assad's claim that what was hit was an abandoned military building. But I've said before that I don't think that it was a nuclear plant either. All of the same arguments I made in the post linked above and in other posts for the target being something significant still apply. I still think it was a chemical weapons plant.


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